A Moon Caught in His Eye

26 Apr

Exactly two weeks ago, I noticed a strange white shape inside Broccles’s eye. I had been watching for changes ever since his eye injury in February that led to all those vet visits. Now, he had a tiny moon waning inside his eyeball.

I called the vet in the morning, and booked an appointment. When she examined it, she said, “There’s a possibility that it might be E. cuniculi. Have you heard of this?”

I certainly had. E. cuniculi is a protzoan parasite which can damage a rabbit’s nervous system and/or internal organs, eventually killing it. Prevention is preferred to treatment, since by the time symptoms are noticed, it is often too late to save the rabbit. When Bunty and I had first adopted Broccles, the vet (a different vet) had given us medicine to prevent E. cuniculi. She had explained that it was advisable to dose all new pet rabbits with it, just in case.

We’d had to dose him every day for a month. This had entailed Bunty catching him and holding him while I squirted funny-smelling paste down his throat with a syringe. To say he didn’t enjoy this is an understatement. Every day his reaction was more violent. We got covered in scratches and he entirely forgot his litter training. Bunty and I had felt like torturers. Here was our lovely new rabbit, not yet settled in, and we were submitting him to this.

Bunty had looked online for advice. We learned that there is a tasty version of the medicine which can be put in their food. So, at the end of Week One, we had stopped dosing the poor creature and resolved to let him settle in for a bit and then try him with the tasty stuff.

Then he had injured his eye and it had seemed better to sort that out first. Then my uncle went into intensive care, and then I’d had to catch up at college, and… the medication had ended up on the back burner.

Now here was a moon in our rabbit’s eye, and the vet was taking blood samples. His veins were so small that it took three attempts. Three of his legs now have little shaved ovals where the needle was inserted.

Since then, I have been dosing him with the Tasty Medicine. He loves it. As far as he is concerned, Lapizole Time is Treat Time. We also have cream for his eye. He doesn’t really like having that applied, but sits patiently while I do so and tries not to blink. He seems to understand that I am trying to help him.

We received the blood test results today. Broccles has E. cuniculi. Having it in his eye means he caught it from his mother when he was a kitten, and it has lain dormant until now. His eye is the safest place for the parasite to be: the worst-case scenario is that he will have his eye removed.

I don’t want him to lose his eye.

12 Responses to “A Moon Caught in His Eye”

  1. Lemongrass April 26, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

    Dear Snailrind, I am so sorry your poor rabbit has this. Your animals are so dear to you. But I also know that you are a scientist, and will know what the best thing to do for Broccles is, and will accept what needs to be accepted. I’m sure Broccles feels safe and secure in your care, and that you are looking after him properly. It is sad when they suffer and when they die, but that is part of life too. I hope Broccles has a long and happy life with you.

    • Snailquake April 26, 2011 at 11:11 pm #

      Thank you, Lemongrass. We hope so too.

  2. Brianda Domecq April 26, 2011 at 10:39 pm #

    I’m in there hoping for you and Broccles. Life will do its best with whatever. Brianda

  3. Jigme Datse Rasku April 26, 2011 at 10:40 pm #

    Poor broccles. Poor Snailquake. Poor Bunty. Hopefully it can be reversed.


  4. Knittinnurse April 26, 2011 at 11:48 pm #

    So sorry to hear about Broccles. You guys have been through so much lately. Hugs and thoughts of a nice long run of good luck and best wishes for Broccles.

  5. DewiMorgan April 27, 2011 at 5:25 am #

    Awr. Poor dab. Still, looks like there’s a reasonable range of treatments available, and far better outlook for him than there used to be.


    • Snailquake April 28, 2011 at 12:44 am #

      Yes, indeed.

      I love that everyone’s going and finding me helpful links. I’ve sent my vet a copy of those details. :)

  6. JohnChampneys April 28, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

    I can only think two things here:
    1) Broccles is very lucky. If he’s ever receptive telepathically (i.e. undergoing pathos from a distance) you could remind him that:
    2) For millions of rabbits having drops put in eyes means something very different to what it means here.


    • Snailquake April 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

      *Vehemently says NO to it!*

      …And feels sad about the reminder.

  7. shaunette April 29, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

    Oh no! Poor Broccles.


  1. Mrs Broccles « Tea Time at the Zoo - June 8, 2011

    […] in front of him and he stepped in as though he had been waiting for it. (He had been to the vet a few times already about his […]

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